Dance Dance Revolution was a hit arcade game from the 90s. Build your own Dance Dance Revolution game with Makey Makey and Scratch as a fun holiday activity!

kids playing dance dance revolution with makey makey

Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) was a big hit back in the late 90’s. Who could forget dancing to the beat of the latest electronic song. Your dance pad might have already broke, folded somewhere in the basement, never to be stomped on again.  Now’s the chance to break into a dance off, and build your own DDR game with MaKey MaKey kit and Scratch.

Here’s what you’ll need to build it:

  1. A laptop
  2. A Scratch user profile
  3. A MaKey MaKey kit
  4. aluminium foil and cardboard to glue the foil onto (or tubs of water or any other conductive material), note certain cardboards that can compress e.g. cardboard carton may bleed conductivity when you place enough pressure onto it
  5. glue and or sticky tape, note that some glues are conductive

There are two parts to the construction of your own DDR game:

  1. Build the software
  2. Build the hardware

Build the software

screenshot of scratch game

Build your own DDR software using Scratch. Create four arrow sprites. Clone each arrow sprite. The original arrow sprites remain stationary at the top of the screen. The clones arrows float upwards on the screen.

Let’s start with the software. We will use Scratch ( to create the program that we will use to build our own DDR game.

  1. Create four arrow sprites. Each arrow sprite will be programmed the same way.
  2. Each arrow sprite will have an original version and cloned versions.
    1. The original arrows will remain at the top of the screen.
    2. The cloned arrows will appear at the bottom of the screen at random time intervals. From the bottom, the cloned arrows glide up towards the original arrow. When the cloned arrow reaches the original arrow the cloned arrow will change costume to create a “flash”, then after one second it will disappear.
    3. A variable for each arrow key will determine whether a cloned arrow is directly on top of the original arrow. The variable will switch between 0 and 1: 0 indicates that a cloned arrow is not on top of the original arrow and 1 indicates that it is on top of the original arrow.
  3. When a cloned arrow is on top of the original arrow, and simultaneously the corresponding arrow key is pressed, the player wins 1 point.

This is the finished DDR Scratch game. You can play this game using the keyboard arrow keys. But we can level up to a fun level of 100 by integrating the DDR Scratch game to a MaKey MaKey kit.


Build the hardware

Using a MaKey MaKey kit we can create the feet pads with aluminium foil, tubs of water, play-doh,or any other conductive material. We’ll make this with aluminium foil but you can choose your own material.

To trigger the inputs, e.g. arrow key presses, we need to create a closed circuit with the MaKey MaKey kit and the person playing the game. We can create a closed circuit by using conductive materials such as aluminium foil and a human being. Connect the MaKey MaKey to the laptop.

Create large arrow keys using aluminium foil, large enough to step on with bare feet. Connect each aluminium foil arrow key to the MaKey MaKey arrow key input connections. Connect the player to the earth connection on the MaKey MaKey. Step on the aluminium foil arrow keys with bare feet to close the circuit and trigger the arrow key inputs.

We can now play our very own homemade DDR game with Makey Makey. Who said coding wasn’t a physical activity? And if you used tubs of water, remember it can get pretty messy. Make sure you protect the laptop and MaKey MaKey board from the water splashes.

the makey makey game board

Build your own hardware for your DDR game using a Makey Makey kit. You can use aluminium foil or other conductive materials. You can even use tubs of water.

Now it’s to enjoy your Dance Dance Revolution game with MaKey MaKey. Play with friends and family.

If you’re interested to find out more